Why A-Levels might not be the best route to your dream career
For a long time A-Levels were considered the only route to higher education and top-flight careers.
However, more and more students with a dream job in mind are now opting for BTEC study.
So why is it becoming so popular and what are the benefits?
Singer and songwriter Roisin Donald (ROE), came to North West Regional College to study Music Performance in 2016, after achieving straight A grades in her GCSE exams.
She’s since gone on to play live at Glastonbury, Electric Picnic, Stendhal, and across the world in venues in India and Germany. She’s also had her work critiqued by the Irish Times.
With the top grades she received when she was 16, ROE could have taken her future in any direction, and chose NWRC.
She explained: “Music was the only thing I could see myself doing in the future so I decided to do the Level 3 in Music Performance at Strand Road, because the course sounded great and had a good reputation.”
NWRC offers a number of Level 3 Extended Diplomas, the exact equivalent of three A-Levels, in a range of subjects including Computing and I.T., Health and Social Care, Apprenticeships, Art and Design, Business, Construction, Early Years, Engineering, Media, Music, Performing Arts, Science and Sport.
The multi-talented teenager said the support she received during her time at NWRC helped shape her music career, and she has gone on to become an award winning, popular artist.
She continued: “I got so much support from NWRC staff. The Music department were so supportive to me. They helped me develop myself as a musician and I felt like I could always go to them for advice and guidance.
“NWRC is where I met my now manager/producer Liam Craig who is also the head of Level 3 Music Technology, so without NWRC I wouldn’t be where I am now. It’s helped me become a better musician by giving me the experience I needed and helped me meet so many of the people who have supported me throughout my career so far.
“The lecturers are really supportive and are active within the music community so they have a lot of expertise and contacts in the local scene.”
During her time at NWRC ROE also travelled to Finland and Estonia with NWRC for an Erasmus partnership project with colleges in Glasgow, Finland and Estonia called Musicreates.
Demand is high for full-time places, but NWRC is still accepting applications for the majority of the courses that will commence in just a few weeks.
Start with North West Regional College this September and let your learning experience take you anywhere. Call 028 7127 6000 or visit www.nwrc.ac.uk for more details.
For more information come along to the College’s Clearing Day events at either Strand Road, Derry-Londonderry, Main Street Limavady Campus, or Derry Road, Strabane, on Thursday 23th, and Friday 24th, and Tuesday 28th August 10am - 4pm – course information and careers guidance will be available.
A limited number of full-time places at NWRC are still available for those who have not yet applied.
Everyone is welcome to attend clearing days on August 23, 24 and 28.
Attendees should take a copy of their exam results.
Demand is high for full-time places, but the college is still accepting applications for the majority of the courses starting in just a few weeks.
Progressing from GCSEs, students can choose a Level 2 course to boost their qualifications, or move directly into a Level 3 Diploma in a career-related area.
This year has seen NWRC students celebrating after achieving top results in the Level 3 Extended Diplomas.
Many of these students are choosing to then move on to university or higher education at NWRC.
Recent years have seen a significant number of Coleraine students choosing higher education at NWRC, with courses now including a range of exciting choices at HND and Foundation Degree level.
With lower tuition fees and more work placement than university options, Higher Education at NWRC is a quality route to gaining employment or progressing graduate level study.
Ethan Kelly has just graduated having completed a Level 3 in music technology and a HND in music production.
Now a music producer, the 24 year-old is working on a new top secret film production and recently wrote a short film called Over the Black Spot.
In between he has recorded a concert for Celtronic and audio for Ulster Fry/Harp on their advertisements.
“The closest courses similar to the ones provided in NWRC are located in Dublin,” he said.
“It made far more sense to choose the geographically closer course with a more renowned name.
“I can honestly say that without the staff at NWRC I wouldn’t be as successful as I am.
“They have been the best mentors I could ever ask for, and I have to mention lecturers Liam Craig and Michael Poole as both have given me amazing information in regards to professional development and also the opportunity to showcase their teachings with external organizations and even within projects held within the college.
“Without NWRC I wouldn’t be half the music producer I am today.
“The environment was amazingly conducive to being creative and provided the perfect platform to kickstart my career.”
For those with a clear career in mind, NWRC also has a range of new Training for Success options for local school leavers.
These provide them with practical skills and a recognised qualification specialising in a vocational subject such as construction skills or hairdressing and beauty therapy.
Students also receive a weekly training allowance and work placement opportunities as part of their course.
Start with North West Regional College this September and let your learning experience take you anywhere.
Call 028 7127 6000 or visit www.nwrc.ac.uk for more details.
For more information go along to the college’s clearing day events at either Strand Road, Derry-Londonderry; Main Street Limavady Campus; or Derry Road, Strabane.
Events are open on Thursday, August 23, Friday, August 24, and Tuesday August, 28, from 10am to 4pm.
Course information and carers guidance will be available throughout the day.